Chelsea fans were left fuming by Thomas Tuchel’s decision to start misfit player
The Blues fell behind twice to goals from Eddie Nketiah and Emile Smith-Rowe in a pulsating first half. However, they equalized shortly on both occasions thanks to a deflected Timo Werner effort and a smart Cesar Azpilicueta finish.
However, Nketiah’s second goal of the game, plus a late Bukayo Saka penalty, gave Arsenal a vital 4-2 victory. The win stopped their three-game losing streak and moved them level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham.
It was a lackluster performance from the hosts, who looked to be suffering from an FA Cup semi-final hangover and never really got going in the big London clash.
One player who certainly looked hungover was Romelu Lukaku. The 28-year-old returned to Chelsea as the club’s record signing, but has been a huge disappointment so far.
The forward has only bagged 12 goals in 38 appearances since his move from Inter Milan. However, Thomas Tuchel gave the Belgian a rare opportunity to start against their city rivals.
However, Lukaku barely affected the game at all and was hooked off for the team’s regular starting striker Kai Havertz just after the hour mark.
The Belgian faced huge criticism online from fans after the game, with some offering damning verdicts and embarrassing statistics to the £100 million forward:
Tuchel explains Lukaku decision before Chelsea’s defeat to Arsenal
To say Lukaku has been a let down since returning to Stamford Bridge would be an understatement.
His most memorable moment since his comeback to English football was probably the eye-opening interview he gave to Sky Italia in December, where he declared he missed life at the San Siro.
The former Manchester United and Everton striker has only started 42% of Chelsea’s Premier League games this season.
Tuchel explained his decision to start the imposing centre-forward before the derby defeat to Arsenal.
“We want to play with two strikers and Kai is heavily overloaded so was the moment to go with Romelu.”
Lukaku did score in the reverse fixture on his debut in August. Tuchel added:
“If you have a good experience or a good moment against an opponent it can help. It was not the main reason, the main reason was that he deserves to play.”